A swimming mate of mine named Cedric Collette died Saturday. He drowned while diving for abalone. He was a fit and a strong man. It shows that all of us can die suddenly. It shows how precious life is. I am 64 years old and fortunate to be healthy. Jackie Kennedy, Donna Reed, and Lyndon Johnson all died at age 64. Wealth, fame and power do not guarantee happiness or long life. When I make my 65th birthday in October, I will have a good statistical chance to live until 85 years of age.
Yesterday the sun came out and it was a beautiful afternoon. After all of my hard work on Elena’s retirement fund earlier I was glad to have a chance to rest with the dogs as I relaxed on the hammock. My mind drifted back to one of the most beautiful cities in the world Cape Town. I dreamed of taking a trip back there. I did a lot of mental work on it but it won’t happen right now.
I have gone through some 10,000 years of human history all over the world. I was looking for a special leader who would be an example for you. The late President John F. Kennedy comes to mind.
Please forgive him for being a playboy who was unfaithful to Jackie. Please remember him for incredible things like saving the world from a nuclear war in 1962 and setting up the project to send humans to the moon.
Also in World War II he was the commander of a small patrol boat (Like the one I was on in Vietnam) in the South Pacific. His boat was sunk by a Japanese destroyer. He was able to avoid getting captured. He saved the lives of 11 of his 12 men. He won a couple of medals for this heroism.
If we could bring President Kennedy back to life and sit him at a table with you, what would he say to you? I suspect that it would be the following good advice:
1. Never forget that power has its limitations.
2) Always approach a new project with the greatest skepticism for the following reasons:
a) The project will always turn out to be much more complicated than it appears at first.
b) The project will always require much more time that you originally estimated.
c) The project will always cost much more money than you originally estimated.
3) “Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan,” He would be saying to you when a project that you are working on fails, do not try to lie about it or blame someone else. Rather look everyone right in the eye and tell them. “This mistake was my fault. I am sorry.” People will be mad at you and disappointed for a couple of days. But you will not be fired or lose your career.
4) Regardless of how bad things get, never lose your compassion for other people or your good sense of humor and ability to laugh.
I hope that these words help you in your current job and 20 years from now when you are CEO.